In which we welcome guests, part 22

For the second year in a row, I am turning over the blog to guest posters for the month of December. And for the second year in a row, we’ve had a great response–thirty-three requests for spots! For the next month you’ll be hearing from writers, editors, and other pros on a variety of topics. I always let the guest writers choose their own subject and give them carte blanche while they’re here. There are no limitations on topic or language, and this time we’ve got everything from favorite words to sexsomnia! Since I will be hunkered down doing revisions on the first of my new books for NAL/Penguin, I am turning comments off for the month. Most posters will include links to their own sites if you want to follow up with them. So, I wish you all the best of holiday seasons–peace, prosperity, good health, and a fabulous start to 2015. See you in the new year!

Today we welcome @recentlysarah. (That’s her twitter handle and the only name by which I know her! Which I kind of love.)

In the last year of my writing life, I have learnt three important things: Prioritisation, Focus, and Patience.

Prioritisation

The only way to be a writer is to write. However when you have multiple ideas that are screaming out for attention, how do you prioritise?  In short, you need to find the one idea that means the most to you, and then you need to work on it until it is finished.

Attempting to work on multiple projects is something that I have struggled with over the course of the last year. I find that if I have too many options, then I become indecisive and simply don’t know where to start. And I am never at a loss for ideas.

My productivity levels are much higher when I am working towards one single goal – be it finishing a draft, finishing an edit, or completing a final review. That of course does not mean that I don’t plot and plan for other projects – it just means that time dedicated for writing must be spent on my first priority.

 

Focus

You have to be clear on your goals, at least before you try to tackle them. Apparently it makes it more difficult if you are trying to chase a moving target. Who would have thought?

 

In the past year I have had to determine what is important, be realistic in my approach, and focus on how I will achieve my goals.

 

I have found that it can be incredibly difficult to lose sight of easily obtainable goals, when reaching for something that I am simply not prepared for.

Yet sometimes you are so focused that when you meet your goals, you sit back and wonder what to do next. Once you have completed everything that is in your control – what are the next steps?

 

Patience

If this time last year you said to me I was still working on the same project, on and off, I would have laughed at you.  Yet the project I have been working on has taught me so much, and I haven’t stopped learning from it. I’ve been applying the things I have learnt in the past year to other projects I have been working on, to interesting ends.

 

This time last year I was knee deep in my plans to take over the world. Ready to dive in and chase after those unreachable goals. I had very high expectations about what the next 12 months would deliver – and many of those expectations were exceeded.

 

In the past year I have learnt what it is to overextend myself, bounce back, and then do it all over again. I have had adventures, changed jobs, and received unexpected promotions. I have plotted and planned, and not everything has been about writing.

In the next 12 months the most important things I want to focus on are prioritisation and focus. Yet in order to be able to do this – I need to be patient with myself.

@recentlysarah